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Thread: Cog railway closed this winter

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ed'n Lauky's Avatar
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    Cog railway closed this winter

    I was at the Cog Railway today. Talked with one of the brakemen. He told me that the workers had just received the word with their last pay check that the Railway will not run this winter. I asked about the access road into the station. He said that he did not know for sure, but the speculation was that it would not be open. In the past, before the skiing, apparently the workers had access via the Mt. Clinton road, which was maintained by the railroad and was not open to the public.

    If anyone as any input on this I'd love to hear it. However, there seems to be a good possibility that if you as I, had plans to access some peaks from the station, it might be a good idea to look into some alternate routes.
    I used to look at my dog and think 'If you were a little smarter you could tell me what your were thinking', and he'd look at me like he was saying 'If you were a little smarter I wouldn't have to'. Fred Jungclaus

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    Senior Member sardog1's Avatar
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    Thanks for the "insider" tip! Now this might just put a lot more pressure on Pinkham, et al. this winter, while making the west side a little "wilder." Hmmm . . . .

    (And for those who are wondering: No, the parking lot off the Mt. Clinton Road at 302 is not particularly secure overnight, notwithstanding its proximity to the "Ritz" (aka the Highland Center.)
    sardog1

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    og Drykk og Tørste og det heile, som
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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Any explanation for why? And more importantly, is this just this year? Looks like the trips will all be from PNVC this winter.

    Tim
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    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    $$$

    When this winter "ski train" idea was first put forth I thought that it would be a bust financially. It was. I think that most people who rode the train to ski down beside the tracks did it for a lark since it was unique. But for many, once was enough and that doesn't create a returning crowd which is very necessary to create the requisite cash flow.

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    Pure speculation on my part is that the return on investment for the ski runs alongside the cog isnt worth the cost to plow the road and maintain a staff to run the operation?

  6. #6
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    As I recall, the Cog needs to keep the road open so that the FD can get there in the event of a fire. IIRC, there was a fire in one of the buildings a few years before the ski trains started, and FD access was an issue. Whether the hiking public will be allowed to use the road is anyone's guess. There's much pressure from the snowmobiler types to use the Clinton and Jefferson Notch Roads.

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    Senior Member DrewKnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Pure speculation on my part is that the return on investment for the ski runs alongside the cog isnt worth the cost to plow the road and maintain a staff to run the operation?
    I am sure you're right -- I believe they only ran the "ski trains" for one season, in spite of the fact that they installed lines for snowmaking, etc. They continued to run the "winter trains" to about 4000 feet last season -- but again, I would guess that the number of riders didn't merit the cost of operations.

    I don't, however, know what this means for the access road.

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    Mt Jefferson via Great Gulf and Six Husband's Trail is a long and very rewarding day. Try it, you'll like it. It's good to wait for the winter campers to pack down the Six Husbands. The ladders on 6H are not too dangerous, it gives you someting to grab. I have found two nice water bottles over the years on 6H in winter.

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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    I called the cog, the person who answered the phone confirmed that the last run will be November 2nd. As for the road, "it's definitely going to be closed".

  10. #10
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    So... that leaves fewer winter options for Jefferson, Washington and Monroe... How far can one actually go then? It should be skiable up to the regular trailhead.

    Tim
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Ed'n Lauky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grayjay View Post
    Mt Jefferson via Great Gulf and Six Husband's Trail is a long and very rewarding day. Try it, you'll like it. It's good to wait for the winter campers to pack down the Six Husbands. The ladders on 6H are not too dangerous, it gives you someting to grab. I have found two nice water bottles over the years on 6H in winter.
    Thanks, those are the kind of tips I'm looking for. What about the Castle trail, is it used much in the winter? I'm guessing that if the Jewell trail is cut off, it just might be the quickest route for getting to Jefferson. That is, if it is broken out at all.
    I used to look at my dog and think 'If you were a little smarter you could tell me what your were thinking', and he'd look at me like he was saying 'If you were a little smarter I wouldn't have to'. Fred Jungclaus

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  12. #12
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed'n Lauky View Post
    Thanks, those are the kind of tips I'm looking for. What about the Castle trail, is it used much in the winter? I'm guessing that if the Jewell trail is cut off, it just might be the quickest route for getting to Jefferson. That is, if it is broken out at all.
    Ed - The Castle Trail isn't used too much in winter.

    Prior to the Cog snow train, the most common approach to Jefferson was via Lowes Path. Via Lowes, there are a couple of choices - 1) Randolph Path to Edmands Col (passes The Perch) or 2) Gray Knob Trail to Randolph to Edmands Col.

    Once in Edmands Col, you have a couple of choices. Early in the winter you can take the Jefferson Loop, but as the season wears on, a large cornice forms just above the col. When that occurs, a large snowfield usually forms to the right (west) of the Jefferson Loop, and is often a rather smooth shot to the summit, where it intersects the Castle trail a hundred yards or so west of the summit.

    There are, of course, lots of POSSIBLE approaches to Jefferson. The two variations above were the most often used per-Cog. Variation #1 was the least dog-friendly, as there's a section about .5 miles after leaving Lowes Path that, depending upon snow cover, can be ledgey/icy. Variation #2 tends to be broken out more due to it's proximity to the RMC cabins, but has more exposure.

    Without the Cog access, Jefferson is IMHO the most difficult NH peak on the 4K list to reach in winter.

  13. #13
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post
    Ed - The Castle Trail isn't used too much in winter.
    If the snow conditions are just right (ie enough snow to smooth out the trail with a hard enough surface that one does not expend much energy breaking), it can be pretty easy. (I have done it as a dayhike under such conditions.)

    Otherwise, I agree with Kevin.


    Jefferson via the Great Gulf is long and exiting the Gulf is steep and likely to be difficult in winter. Six Husbands Tr looks steep enough for there to be an avalanche hazard. I don't think that it is done very often.

    Doug

  14. #14
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Doug - One of the reasons Castle may not be done too often (other than the obvious long exposure) is that parking is not exactly obvious. I've often worried about blocking access for the folks who live there, or getting plowed in, etc.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ed'n Lauky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post
    Without the Cog access, Jefferson is IMHO the most difficult NH peak on the 4K list to reach in winter.
    Oh well!!! Here I was thinking that a Zealand--Bonds traverse was going to be the worst I would have to face.
    I used to look at my dog and think 'If you were a little smarter you could tell me what your were thinking', and he'd look at me like he was saying 'If you were a little smarter I wouldn't have to'. Fred Jungclaus

    Some of our greatest historical and artistic treasures we place with curators in museums; others we take for walks. Roger Caras

    100/100 NEHH with Duffy
    48/48 NH 4000 Winter Ed with Duffy and Lauky
    48 X 4 including 1 winter Lauky
    48 X 6 Ed
    12 X 12 Belknaps with Lauky

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